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Build thread: 1968 El Camino
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  1. #1
    SoCalEuro Member SoCalabrador's Avatar
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    Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    This post is all backstory behind my build. Skip to the next one for actual build stuff!

    Well, here goes nothing. Hopefully I can keep up with this, as it's not gonna be a month long project. More like 3 if I'm lucky and keep on it like I have been.

    Okay, so here's some backstory for all this; a 1968 El Camino was my first car. I loved the hell out of it. Drove it in high school and babied it, but it was also my first car that I learned to modify (and a relatively easy one at that). Here's a photo of it in high school, it almost hurts to look at it for me:



    Long story short, a lady took an illegal u-turn from a parallel parking spot over a double-yellow without looking to see if anyone was coming, and I T-boned her at about 25 mph. While it was low-speed, it fubar'd both motor mounts, and bent one of the two front frame forks that the motor sits it. The car started to have a myriad of electrical issues as well after that, speedo stopped working as well as fuel gauge. I was not at fault and got a nice payout of about $4k from the insurance company. I ended up just pulling the motor and putting aftermarket mounts in and putting in another 350cid small block my dad had in his shop. (We were unsure of the condition of the 350 that was in there during the crash - and it was my DD at the time so we needed to know it would work.) At this point we had also inherited a garage that we had gotten from a close friend, which came with a TH350 stage 3+ custom built B&M automatic transmission. I took that and hooked it up to that motor and dropped it all back in the car... even though the forks were bent we could get it in with a LARGE prybar and some elbow grease. Car ran GREAT after that, around 290hp or so with a fierce transmission and a ratcheting floor shifter made it blast to drive.

    I spent about $1k on new front end parts (including brand new bumper and grills that I never installed which are going on my other 68! ). Here are some post-crash pics, hard to see the damage as the panels took it well (although my chrome grill and bumper definitely did not)

    During the front clip teardown:





    Mocked up of the new front end with a cowl induction hood:


    To clarify, this car is NOT my current project. This one is being traded to my painter for a paint job on my girfriend's 1966 mustang.

    Anyways, to continue my long winded story, my fun ended pretty quickly in this one as the motor I was running was supposed to use leaded fuel (I had no idea it was that old) and it ruined the heads on it. I also broke an A-arm in the interrim and began to question the integrity of the frame and suspension parts on the car due to the accident. We found some more frame damage in a few other places of the car, probably from the previous owner. I eventually ended up getting another one that was only $2k, running, straight as an arrow, and it had been in storage since 1988. I decided this car would be my new platform for my first full-blown project, when I finally got a chance to actually start on it. I've had it for about a year, and now that I have my MK4, I can tear it apart for as long as I want without having to rely on it. So we begin!
    '71 Hugger Orange Type 3 Squareback - 1835cc dual port + dual IDF 40's
    2004 Reflex Silver GTi 1.8t - R32 front and rear valence and Aristos, coilovers, custom dual exhaust, short shift, etc)
    1968 El Camino (Project)

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  3. #2
    SoCalEuro Member SoCalabrador's Avatar
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    Re: Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    Now for the fun stuff. Here is the second elky I picked up for $2k, for the sake of this thread it'll be elky #2:



    I am wonderfully lucky to have the luxury of my dad and his close friend going halfsies on a hobby shop, which has advanced much further than this picture. All the tools I need to do something like this, and a drive-on lift when it becomes necessary. I have to say I thank him greatly for allowing me to use it when need be. (The car isn't parked there anymore though )

    Took the first el camino, pulled the motor out of it, no real detail on the breakdown, just a shot of it coming out. This is the motor that threw the valve - the cam in it was also worn pretty well. This is the one we're thinking made around 290hp. One of our friends did an excellent job fixing the heads up the heads already so I didn't have to do that - they even have hardened valve seats now! No need for leaded fuel! We were originally going to just do heads and cam but figured if we have it down to the short block we better just do a full rebuild, and I wanted to as this is my first teardown and rebuild (although I have an excellent mentor who has been building race motors for decades. I'd be lost without him!)

    Photo of motor coming out of Elky #1


    Didn't realize I was going to be doing a build thread until it was apart, but I still have some photos I took along the way.

    Here's the motor on stand, short block, internals still in there:


    One of the crankshaft bearings - lookin' rough, going to buy a new set.


    Motor on stand, no internals - we measured and it is bored .030" over, so it's technically a 355 small block! Was pretty excited to see someone had already bored it out.



    My mk4 doing what it can to help out - just thought they looked odd in there because I never planned on using it to move engine parts. May end up tossing my empty short block in there before this is done. Don't have a truck so I make do! I also have a set of 044 aircooled vw race heads next to my chevy heads that I just got my hands on, along with a bundle of other aircooled goodies - I might have another build thread coming soon...



    Now that the motor was apart, I went through cleaning off all the gasket surfaces using this bristled stripping tool that I still don't know the name of. Excellent tool for cleaning blocks, even for the VW. A green one is guaranteed to not take off ANY cast iron from whatever you're working on, if you're doing anything with the aluminum VW blocks, find yourselves a yellow one, as they have the same guarantee for aluminum.

    Bristled tool thingy:


    Heads before and after




    Block gasket surfaces cleaned partway - finished it tonight but didn't snap a picture.





    That's where I'm at now! Block and heads are cleaned, next step is make sure the crank is okay (since those bearings didn't look so hot), measure cylinder walls to make sure they're alright, and then I'll be ordering parts and hot-tanking my block! Feel free to toss in any input you might have!
    '71 Hugger Orange Type 3 Squareback - 1835cc dual port + dual IDF 40's
    2004 Reflex Silver GTi 1.8t - R32 front and rear valence and Aristos, coilovers, custom dual exhaust, short shift, etc)
    1968 El Camino (Project)

  4. #3
    SoCalEuro Member Forum Supporter Brk4Euros's Avatar
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    Re: Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    Love for the El Camino. Keep plugging away!!!

  5. #4
    SoCalEuro Member SoCalabrador's Avatar
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    Re: Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    Just picked up a free exhaust (from header to tip) from my auto teacher. Came off a 1968 corvette, does anyone know how to treat these for rust and what to put on it to keep them from rusting in the future? It's all surface, the steel is in great condition! I would post a pic but my laptop isn't here. I'll edit later tonight if i get time.

    Also I will post motor specs for those that are interested:
    CURRENT SPECS (bore may change after cylinder hone)
    355 Chevrolet small block with a 2-bolt main :roll:
    Stock 350 stroke
    4.030" bore (out from 4")
    Timing chain swapped for gear drive
    Stock Crankshaft bad (Possibly replacing with lighter crank, otherwise will be replaced with stock crank)
    Stock 8:1 Pistons bad (Replacing with 10:1)
    Hydraulic Lifters Bad (Replacing)
    Mild Camshaft bad (Replacing with a more aggressive cam)
    "Camel Hump" heads (original off a 67 camaro ss!) I think they are 64cc and the valves are 2.02" on the intake. Best ones you can get without spending a ton of money, afaik
    '71 Hugger Orange Type 3 Squareback - 1835cc dual port + dual IDF 40's
    2004 Reflex Silver GTi 1.8t - R32 front and rear valence and Aristos, coilovers, custom dual exhaust, short shift, etc)
    1968 El Camino (Project)

  6. #5
    Forum Lurker Moderator SYNYSTAGLI's Avatar
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    Re: Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    Woot!
    DCI-VW
    NEED PARTS?
    www.purems.com

  7. #6
    SoCalEuro Member Agent Orange's Avatar
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    Re: Build thread: 1968 El Camino

    So how did this thing come out???
    I drive crap. Expensive crap...

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